PPP – A possible solution to bridge the Digital Divide?

Public private partnership (PPP) refers to a combined effort of a private sector organization and government agency for a successful implementation of large scale public project which is meant for betterment of the society.

PPP play a major role in modernising public services and infrastructure. It is a collaborative and contractual partnership between government and private sector organization wherein a government organization may hire a private sector company to carry out one of the tasks relating to public welfare. PPP often uses private sector investments to finance, build and operate a public project when sufficient government funding is not available. In PPP, the key responsibilities are shared and the projects and services get delivered in a more efficient way.

The success of a PPP project depends on its sole objective – that is to provide cost effective and better services for the public. Various operative PPP models include — Build-and-Transfer (BT); Build-Lease-and-Transfer (BLT); Build Operate and Transfer (BOT); Build-Own-Operate-and-Transfer (BOOT); Build-Own-and-Operate(BOO); Build-Operate-Share-Transfer(BOST); Build-Own Operate-Share-Transfer (BOOST).

PPP enabled Social Development in India

PPP has a long way to go in India, although a considerable development sought recently. The PPP approach is mainly seen in the sectors like Road, bridge, power, water, health and education, renewable energy, telecom, tourism and port. In 2004, there were only 85 PPP projects; but the figure had gone up to 500 in 2004 and 2005. Currently, more than 1000 billion worth of PPP projects are in progress across the country with the largest number of projects in road, bridge and port. States including Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Karnataka have the highest number of PPP projects.

To drive this, Indian Government has introduced various measures to encourage private sector participations in the growth of India’s road transport system. The high-profile Second Vivekananda Bridge in Kolkata, the Jaipur to Kishangarh Expressway in Rajasthan and the Tirupur Water and Sewerage Project are few of the examples of successful PPP models.

Telecommunications sector is one of highest gainer of PPP in India. The country has over 326 million strong telephone networks, and mobile phone connections have been increasing substantially due to continuous encouragement for private sector organizations. This has made India as the second largest telecommunications network of the globe.

PPP to reduce the digital gap

In-spite of technological development, sadly, the digital divide is still rampant in India. Internet and PC penetrations in India are at a very nascent stage. Citizens from the lower income group of the country yet the feel the speed of the Internet world.

Global Digital Divide

Bringing in public and private partnership to bridge the digital divide can be landmark initiative and it will able to able to power the needy ones with basic computing as well as accessibility to Internet. A public-private partnership model has the potential for optimising the existing resources; as the public sector plays the role of facilitator while the private sector adds its technology, expertise and management practices. Thus, an ideal form of Public-private partnership can result in the availability of computer technology amongst the underprivileged.

To enable this, government agencies can collaborate with the broadband providers as well as computer manufacturing companies, for affordable broadband connectivity as well as affordable PCs respectively to promote digital inclusion.

Conclusion

Without a healthy digital inclusion strategy, the lower socio-economic groups will not be able to access the benefits of Information Technology, and social marginalisation will continue to dominate. But, with an ever-increasing presence and affordability of high-speed broadband communications, availability of affordable and refurbished PCs and laptops supported by Public Private Partnership, the digital divide can be reduced.  It will help spread IT infrastructure and broadband connection to the rural and lower economic groups. The government organisation need to connect and collaborate with the private companies like ReNew-IT to provide affordable and refurbished PCs and laptops to the needy population of our country.

This entry was posted in Digital Divide and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s